A few years ago, I remember constantly getting confused between these two: self-care and self-love. Especially during exam week, my friends would tell me to relax and have a self-care day so I would feel better about myself, but to be honest, I never really knew how that helped as I still felt terrible within.
So after a past relationship, I started to focus on myself more: A 3 -month social media detox, finding what my style was, and what brought joy to my life – I believe that these acts of self-care were my personal steps to self-love.
And here’s how I define it….
It can be seen as temporary and help with balancing your life. Self-care lets you feel mentally and physically good. It can be your type of way to feel at peace from within.
Some examples of these can include:
To me, I think of Self-love as the core light within you. Once you’ve achieved that sense of peace and self-acceptance, you can notice how this can impact the way you view yourself, how you act in relationships, and how you look at the world.
But personally, I break self-love down into these three things: understanding yourself, prioritizing yourself, and finally embracing who you are.
STEP 1: PRIORITIZING YOURSELF
Though society might shape us all into different people, at the end of the day, everyone has an inner child inside of us that wants to be cared for. However, with self-love, it’s learning to care about that inner child by prioritizing yourself.
Prioritizing yourself can mean
. To be patient with yourself
. break down the harsh judgemental voice inside of you
. Being kind and fair to yourself
. Giving yourself time to heal.
. Knowing you’re worth it and enough
. Respecting yourself & the boundaries you create
STEP 2: UNDERSTANDING YOURSELF.
Once you’ve made the first step in prioritizing yourself, you can definitely become much more aware of who you are as a person. Through this awareness, you’ll notice how you react/ respond in certain situations. This could mean you have a specific pattern in how you react, possible defense mechanisms, or even trust issues, that were built from past experiences.
But let’s say you’re someone who has been or are going through anxiety ( or other mental health issues) understand what that means for you and know that there’s nothing wrong with it.
Some examples to understand yourself can include…
notice how you react in certain situations. Is it because of a defence mechanism? previous trust issues that have been built?
Coming to terms with either small traumas or betrayals that you’ve felt.
Letting go and forgiving yourself from your past mistakes
*meditation can also be extremely helpful when it comes to learning how to understand yourself and being present with your feelings.
STEP 3: EMBRACING YOURSELF
Lastly, possibly the hardest step, is to embrace yourself. Not gonna lie, I’m not always there. There are still days where I struggle, but it’s a process that’s doable as long as I’m being gentle and reasonable with myself.
Some examples of this can include…
Embracing your emotional parts: if you’re someone that is more emotional than others, embrace that part of yourself. Though society makes us feel like we can’t be emotional, there’s honestly nothing wrong with being emotional. It just means you care and you’re empathetic.
Embracing your anxiety: be patient with yourself. Know that there are days where it might be harder than others, but never think that you aren’t normal just because you might overthink and get anxious in different situations.
Embracing your body: everyone’s body is beautiful and just because society doesn’t label it doesn’t mean it’s not worthy. If you’re someone who wants to work towards creating a healthier relationship with your body and mind, it’s always possible.
It’s so important to embrace who you are as a person: to appreciate who you are, understand that you’re always enough and that your feelings do matter. By doing this step, it can encourage self-growth, improve who you are, and, in the future, possibly help you create stronger relationships.
WHY IS SELF LOVE IMPORTANT?
As I mentioned before I see self-love as the core light that can be developed from within us. Loving who you are, respecting yourself, embracing your imperfections, and seeking validation from within can all help from a long term perspective. Loving yourself can help in various aspects including building stronger relationships, preventing yourself from getting into toxic ones, getting through personal challenging events, and can help with building a healthier relationship with your body, mind, and heart. You’ll also learn how to be more resilient in situations and to not let your insecurities get the best of you.